The life of those who dwell in the secret place of the Most High may be called a Hidden Life, because the animating principle, the vital or operative element, is not so much in itself as in another. It is a life grafted into another life. It is the life of the soul, incorporated into the life of Christ; and in such a way, that, while it has a distinct vitality, it has so very much in the sense, in which the branch of a tree may be said to have a distinct vitality from the root.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Inward Recollection and Prayer

Again, we have good reason for supposing, that the state of inward recollection is eminently propitious to the spirit and practice of prayer. There certainly can be no acceptable prayer without a considerable degree of recollection. And the requirement that we should "pray without ceasing," seems almost necessarily to imply, that we should always be in a recollected state.

He, who is always dissipated like a house open to all comers and goers, is very unfit for prayer. He, that will never pray, but in the hour that calls him to it, will never do it well. But he, that would succeed in this great exercise, ought, by continual RECOLLECTION, to keep himself always ready, and in an actual disposition for praying. — Francis de la Combe, Letter of Instruction on Christian Perfection.
One of the great excellencies of the state of inward recollection is, that it gives us the place of central observation and power, the KEY, if we may so express it, to the position of the religious life; and enables us to exercise an effective control over its whole broad extent. That is to say, it places us in the most favorable position to discover and meet the attacks of our spiritual adversaries, and also to render our own movements and efforts fully available. However well disposed may be our intentions, whatever good purposes we may have formed, whatever may be the formality and solemnity of our recorded resolutions, they will ever be found in a great degree useless, without this aid. It will be in vain to think of living a life of true religion, a life in which God himself is the inspiring element, without a present, permanent, and realizing sense of his presence.  It  is, therefore, not without a good degree of reason, that the pious Cecil has remarked, that "RECOLLECTION is the life of religion."

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (2nd Edition, 1844) Part 3, Chapter 7.

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